The process of training on skill of designing experiential learning activities for pre-service teacher in teaching biology in high school

Abstract. Teaching through organizing the experiential learning activities is an effective way of the development of students’ competencies, helping them connect their theoretical knowledge with the practical application. In order to meet the need to innovate teaching methods in school, it needs to innovate their methods of training students towards enhancing their skills of designing and organizing experiential learning activities. This article focuses on analyzing the structure of skill of design experiential learning activities, thereby proposing a training process for pre-service teachers to design experiential learning activities in teaching biology. Pre-service teachers are trained to design experiential learning activities by experiential learning cycle, through which pre-service teachers discover their own learning experiences and develop the process of designing experiential learning activities in teaching biology.

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Tran Thi Gai and Phan Thi Thanh Hoi 110 HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1075.2017-0180 Educational Sciences, 2017, Vol. 62, Iss. 12, pp. 110-118 This paper is available online at THE PROCESS OF TRAINING ON SKILL OF DESIGNING EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING ACTIVITIES FOR PRE-SERVICE TEACHER IN TEACHING BIOLOGY IN HIGH SCHOOL Tran Thi Gai 1 and Phan Thi Thanh Hoi 2 1 Natural Pedagogical Institute, Vinh University 2 Department of Biology, Hanoi National University of Education Abstract. Teaching through organizing the experiential learning activities is an effective way of the development of students’ competencies, helping them connect their theoretical knowledge with the practical application. In order to meet the need to innovate teaching methods in school, it needs to innovate their methods of training students towards enhancing their skills of designing and organizing experiential learning activities. This article focuses on analyzing the structure of skill of design experiential learning activities, thereby proposing a training process for pre-service teachers to design experiential learning activities in teaching biology. Pre-service teachers are trained to design experiential learning activities by experiential learning cycle, through which pre-service teachers discover their own learning experiences and develop the process of designing experiential learning activities in teaching biology. Keywords: Experiential learning, experiential learning activities, design experiential learning activities, skill of design experiential learning activities, teaching biology. 1. Introduction The goal of the new general education curriculum is to improve the quality and competency of students, which show the program's approach to the worldwide teaching innovation, in which teachers are considered as a key element of education reform. Therefore, the training and fostering of teachers have been seriously considered to contribute to the fundamental reform of education. One of the innovations in the program is teaching experiential learning, which results in developing students’ competencies, creating opportunities for students to enhance their knowledge in solving practical problems [1]. Experiential learning is a modern educational theory associated with the names of top educators namely William James, John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Vygotsky, Lewin, and David Kolb. Experiential learning has been playing a central role in progressive education, having become the trend and cornerstone of education in the 21st century (Itin, 1999) [2]. Experiental activity is an effective teaching method in teaching organization in general education with the orientation to the development of students’ competencies [3]. In teaching natural sciences in general and teaching in biology in particular, experiential learning activities are aimed to create opportunities for students to observe, experiment and explore science; as well as applying knowledge to solve theoretical and practical problems; through which results in the development of qualities and abilities [4]. Received: October 5, 2017. Revised: December 12, 2017. Accepted: December 19, 2017. Contact: Phan Thi Thanh Hoi, e-mail address: phanthanhhoi@gmail.com The process of training on skill of designing experiential learning activities for pre-service teacher 111 The above analysis shows that the design and organization of experiential learning activities in teaching is highly necessary. However, teachers and pre-service teachers (PTs) are still not fully aware of the nature of experiential learning as well as the way to design the activities in the subject. Starting from the research on experiential learning and the current practice of biology teachers, we conducted research and proposed the structure of the experiential learning activities design skills and the training process for the design and organization of experiential learning for pre-service biology teacher at educational training institutions. 2. Content 2.1. Experiential Learning Model In 1984, David Kolb developed an empirical model based on studies by Dewey, Lewin and Piaget. Kolb emphasizes that experience plays a central role in learning. "Learning is the process of creating knowledge through the transformation of experience." (Kolb, 1984) [5, 6]. Learning through experience with active participation of students, learning in a way that is in accordance with the intellectual, physical and emotional levels of learners [7]. The experiential learning model is depicted in Figure 1. (1) Concrete Experience: is the stage where the learner is actively involved in a particular learning activity (eg classroom, lab, field, etc.) (2) Reflective Observation: the stage where learners are pondering and sharing experiences. (3) Abstract Conceptualisation: is the stage the learner is presenting or conceptualizing / modeling knowledge. (4) Active Experimentation: is the stage where the learner tests the theory in a new situation or prepares and plans for a new learning cycle. Kolb's experiential learning model is a spiral that describes the learning process. Learning can begin at any stage depending on the individual's learning style, but is most effective when being fulfilled all four stages [9]. 2.2. Experiential learning activities Experiential learning activities in teaching is a learning task in which the student is independently engaged or actively involved in all stages of conceptual design, planning, organizing and evaluating performance, thus, the learner not only just acquires knowledge, but they also developed the skills, abilities and qualities. During the student experiences, the teacher acts as a Figure 1. Experiential Learning Model of David Kolb [8] Hội tụ Đồng hóa Transform experience G r a sp E x p e r ie n c e Reflective Observation (RO) Active Experimentatio n (AE) Abstract Conceptualisation (AC) Concrete Experience (CE) Tran Thi Gai and Phan Thi Thanh Hoi 112 motivator for the learner. Experiential learning activities are usually organized in a cycle, at the beginning, students use their own experiences to solve problems and at the end of the period students can apply knowledge, experience learned to solve flexibly, actively and creatively the practical problems of life and society [10]. In our study, learning through empirical experience means organizing the student to conduct a series of experiments. To do this, the teacher needs to design an experiential cycle consisting of four phases: Concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation, and active experimentation (Kolb, 1984). In each phase, based on the learning objectives, the teacher choose the appropriate type of experiential learning activities. Therefore, the design of the experiential learning activities will include the following steps: Defining the experiential cycle framework; Determine the type of activity; Development of the process; Activity-based and pilot-based assessments to apply into the teaching practice. 2.3. Skills to organize experiential learning activities  Definition The concept of skills has to approaches in definition: either the technical approach that describes the process of actions, or the angle of the subject's competencies. According to Xavier Roegies, "Skill is the ability to do something. It's an activity to be accomplished [11]. According to Tran Ba Hoanh, "Skill is the ability to apply knowledge gained in a certain field into practice. The skill that reaches a certain proficiency level is known as a craft" [12]. Based on an overview of the literature on the development of skills and skills development in teaching, in the light of the objective as PTs, our concept of skill is the ability of the subject to perform one or a series of actions on the basis of their existing competencies (knowledge or experience) to produce good results.  Skill of designing experiential learning activities As we have analyzed above, the design of experiential learning activities is not a single activity but a series of experiential learning activities, so we define the skill of designing experiential learning activities as the ability of the subject to design a chain of experiential learning activities, starting from identifying the experiential cycle framework, identifying the type of activity, developing the activity process, evaluating the activity and testing the model to apply into the teaching practice to produce good results. - The design of the experiential learning activities is composed of various parts. The components of the design of the experiential learning activities is described in Table 1.  The structure for skill of designing experiential learning activities Table 1. The structure for skill of designing experiential learning activities Components Illustrative Activities 1. Defining the experiential cycle framework - Define the target of the topic. - Identify subject matter topics and select issues for the experiential learning activities. - Determine the teaching method: teaching the whole class or based on The process of training on skill of designing experiential learning activities for pre-service teacher 113 differences in learning style. - Determine the phases in the experiential cycle, determining the starting point and ending point of the cycle. - Create situations to initiate the experience cycle, creating motivation for students. 2. Determine the type of activity - Select the type of experiential learning activities based on the lesson content, the objectives of the topic. - Define the goals of each type of activity in each phase of the cycle. 3. Development of the process - Determine the operating conditions: space (classroom, home, lab, production facility ...); time to organize the activities. - Identify the main teaching methods and techniques to organize activities: problem solving-based, discovery-based, project-based, cooperation-based...; XYZ technique, puzzle piece, table cloth, picture gallery, ball bearing, mind map... - Identification of necessary facilities. - Design the specific tasks to guide learning activities for students in the phases of the experiential cycle. - Identify the steps to perform the operation: specify the process of operation. 4. Assessment after experiential learning activities - Design criteria and tools to assess the level of knowledge and competencies to apply knowledge of students; Evaluation of the students’ abilities.  The role of training on skills of designing experiential learning activities for pre-service teachers at teacher training colleges In the process of teaching, teachers need to master the teaching model/strategy to apply to the practice effectively. Experiential learning model is considered a teaching strategy. The starting foundation is from the theory of tectonics, in which learning is the process of self-construction to form knowledge for oneself, and teachers act as supporters, assessors, trainers to help learners achieve their academic goals. Experiential learning has a neural basis of learning - the learning process corresponding to the inner workings of the brain. Learning through experience is a model of active learning activities of students. Teachers need to understand and know how to use the experiential learning model to increase the learning motivation of students. This means that teachers need to have the design of experiential learning activities to run the model of learning experience in teaching, thus is considered a teaching skill. 2.4. The process of training on skill of designing experiential learning activities for pre- service teachers in teaching biology The design of the experiential learning activities includes all the components. In order to train this subject for our PTs, we practice in the direction of experiential teaching, which means using the same experiential learning cycle to practice the experiential learning activities design. The training process is a two-cycle twist with 8 phases, in which the phase 1-3 is to form knowledge about the experiential Tran Thi Gai and Phan Thi Thanh Hoi 114 learning activities, from phase 4-8 there will be training the organization skills, improve the design of the experiential learning activities. Table 2. The process of training on skill of designing experiential learning activities in teaching biology Objectives Phases Concrete Experience Reflective Observation Abstract Conceptualisation Active Experimentation 1. Forming the knowledge of the experiential learning activities and developing the framework of the experience cycle, and the skill to determine the type of activity in each phase of the experience cycle. 1. Play the role of student to participate in the implementation of a experiential learning activities by the teacher. 2. Discuss the activities of teachers and students in the experiential learning activities. 3. Read the materials on the experiential learning activities and experiential learning activities in teaching Biology. 4. Determine the framework of the experience cycle for the topic. Determine the type of activity in each phase of the experience cycle. 2. Training the organization skills, improving the design of the experiential learning activities 5. Design the process for the operation of the experiential learning activities. 6. Discussion 7. Attend lectures on the experiential learning activities and experiential learning activities in teaching Biology. 8. Operation of the experiential learning activities.  Beginning of the experiential cycle The goal of initiating an experiential cycle is to create a learning problem that helps PTs recognize the importance of the learning cycle as a basis for selecting and designing learning activities for students in the teaching process. Activity Card Game Set: The instructor prepares the activity cards, on which record activities that teach the topic of "Microorganisms and Applications" in the Microbiology section for 10 th grade Biology curriculum (Unit 22 to 28). Activity Card 1: Visiting the process of synthesis and decomposition of Microorganisms substances in the locality: making fish sauce, producing soy sauce. Activity Card 2: Visiting, investigating pathogenic microorganisms in plants and measures. Activity card 3: Collecting specimens and observations of nitrogen fixation microorganisms in nodule of legume. Activity card 4: Discuss about the role of microorganisms in food production. Activity card 5: Practice making fermentation products: yogurt, pickles. Activity card 6: Observing the pictures of microorganisms in nature. The process of training on skill of designing experiential learning activities for pre-service teacher 115 Activity card 7: Future Producer Contest. Activity card 8: Making a comparison table aerobic respiration, anaerobic respiration, fermentation. Activity card 9: Making a map of the process of synthesis and dissolution of microorganisms. Acttivity card 10: Practice isolating and observing mold. Activity card 11: Practice isolating and observing yeast. Activity card 12: Practice isolating and observing bacteria. PTs work in groups to select activity cards and arrange the activity cards into a cycle of activities. Explain the reasons for choosing and arranging activities. Cycle 1: Forming the knowledge of the experiential learning activities and developing the framework of the experience cycle, and the skill to determine the type of activity in each phase of the experience cycle. * Objectives: - Analyzing the concept, nature and role of experiential learning activities. - Raise students' awareness of the experience cycle. - Create opportunities for students to think, share, and participate in the learning experiential process. - Use knowledge to build an experiential learning cycle for a specific context of Biology in high school. - Select and arrange appropriate activities for each phase of the experiential cycle. * Process: - Phase 1: Concrete Experience + PTs play the role of students participating in experiential learning activities organized by the lecturer of "Microorganisms and Applications" in the section of microbiology in 10 th grade Biology curriculum (Unit 22-28). Lecturers select activities from the cards in the startup phase of the experience cycle: Practice to isolate fungal observations => Discussion => Mind Mapping => Future Producer Competition. Students actively participate in all stages from defining concept, planning, implementation and performance evaluation. - Phase 2: Reflective Observation + Lecturers organize students’ discussions about the feedback activities that have been involved in the specific experience phase. PTs discuss in groups of 4 - 6 PTs and complete the study card showing the name of the activity, steps of activities of teachers and students: Activity Name of activity Teacher Students Activity 1 Activity 2 Activity 3 Activity 4 Tran Thi Gai and Phan Thi Thanh Hoi 116 + Compare experiment activities with other learning activities? + What are your perceptions of learning experience? + Share your thoughts and ideas about the similarities or differences between "learning by doing" and learning experiences. + If you have used the experience cycle in designing learning activities for students, share your experiences. Phase 3: Abstract Conceptualisation - Lecturers provide the content of the experiential activity: the concept, nature, role of the response activity, the framework design for the experience cycle. - PTs read the material, generalizing the learning experience on the student card. Definition Nature Role Experience - PTs read the literature on experiential learning activities in teaching Biology and determine the correlation between experiential learning activities and the content of knowledge (knowledge groups on anatomy, process of science, rules of biology, knowledge of scientific theory, knowledge of scientific methods) to the table: Activity form Content of knowledge Development of student’s capabilities Observation Experiment Field Project ....... What is the characteristic of experiential learning activities in Biology teaching? Phase 4: Active Experimentation Exercise: Select a specific content within the "Material and Energy Transition in Plant" section of 11 th grade Biology curriculum and determine the mode of teaching (for the whole class or diversified teaching), defining the framework of the experiential cycle; Design the learning situations to motivate students, select and organize activities for the experiential cycle. PTs use the knowledge they have learned to complete the exercises. Cycle 2: Training the organization skills, improve the design of the experiential learning activities * Objectives: - Design the process of experiential learning activities in Biology teaching. The process of training on skill of designing experiential learning activities for pre-service teacher 117 - Design the methods and tools of assessment for students' competencies (observatory report, questionnaire, assignment, evaluation criteria). - Organize the experiential learning activities in teaching biology. * Process: - Phase 5: Concrete Experiences Faculty gives assignments to students: + D